Legal Gambling Age in the USA By State

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Most people think you have to be 21 or older to gamble in the US, but that’s not always…...

Most people think you have to be 21 or older to gamble in the US, but that’s not always true. It all depends on two factors – your location and the specific kind of betting you want to indulge. Some states are more lenient, while others are known for having strict gambling regulations.

We’ll take a closer look at the legal age for casino gaming, sports betting, poker, bingo, racing, and lottery games. If you’d rather go straight to the good stuff, we’ve reviewed 3 sweepstakes casinos you should try! Just skip to the end of this article if you’re already twenty-one or older.

For your convenience, we’ve put together a table that details the gambling age in each state.

 

Minimum Age for Casino, Sports & Poker Gambling in the USA

Some of the boxes include N/A, which means that particular form of gambling is either illegal or not offered within the state. Other boxes include two ages, which means the legal gambling age can vary depending on which casino or sports betting venue you attend within a particular state.

State Sports Casino Poker Bingo Lottery Racing
Alabama N/A 21 21 18 N/A 18
Alaska N/A 21 N/A 19 N/A N/A
Arizona N/A 21 21 18 21 21
Arkansas 21 21 21 18 18 18
Online Casinos in California N/A 18/21 18/21 18 18 18
Colorado 18 21 21 18 18 18
Connecticut N/A 21 21 18 18 18
Delaware 21 21 21 18 18 18
Florida N/A 21 18 18 18 18
Georgia N/A 18 18 18 18 21
Hawaii N/A 21 21 18 18 21
Idaho N/A 18 18 18 18 18
Illinois 21 21 21 18 18 18
Indiana 21 21 21 18 18 18
Iowa 21 21 21 21 21 21
Kansas N/A 21 21 18 18 18
Kentucky N/A N/A N/A 18 18 18
Louisiana N/A 21 21 18 21 18
Maine N/A 21 21 16 18 18
Maryland N/A 21 21 18 18 18
Massachusetts N/A 21 21 18 18 18
Michigan 21 18/21 18/21 18 18 18
Minnesota N/A 18 18 18 18 18
Mississippi 21 21 21 18 21 18
Missouri N/A 21 21 18 18 18
Montana 18 18 18 18 18 18
Nebraska N/A 21 21 18 19 18
Nevada 21 21 21 21 N/A N/A
New Hampshire 18 21 18 18 18 21
Online Casinos in New Jersey 21 21 21 18 18 18
New Mexico 21 21 21 Open 18 18
New York 21 21 21 18 18 18
North Carolina 21 21 21 21 18 18
North Dakota 18 21 21 18 18 18
Ohio N/A 21 21 16 18 18
Oklahoma N/A 18 18 16 18 18
Oregon 18 21 18 18 18 18
Online Casinos in Pennsylvania 21 21 21 18 18 18
Rhode Island 18 21 21 18 18 18
South Carolina N/A 21 18 18 18 N/A
South Dakota 21 21 21 21 18 18
Tennessee 21 N/A N/A 18 18 N/A
Online Casinos in Texas N/A 21 18 21 18 18
Utah N/A N/A 21 21 N/A N/A
Vermont N/A 21 21 N/A N/A N/A
Virginia 21 21 18 18 18 18
Washington 18 18 18 18 18 18
West Virginia 21 21 21 18 18 18
Wisconsin N/A 21 21 18 18 18
Wyoming 18 18 18 18 18 18

Which States Allow Players to Gamble At 18?

Tribal casinos, especially across reservations throughout the US, are exempt from some of the stricter regulations imposed by certain states. Once you enter a reservation, the gambling age changes from 21 to 18. Other states have set their legal gambling age to 18+ across the board.

However, that doesn’t mean 18 – 20 year olds can drink alcohol at tribal or state-run casinos. All that said, we’ve listed the states that permit casino and poker gambling for 18+ year olds.

  • Wyoming: All tribal casinos have an 18+ age requirement.
  • Washington: All tribal casinos have an 18+ age requirement.
  • Minnesota: Land-based casinos accept 18+ year old players.
  • Montana: All tribal casinos have an 18+ age requirement.
  • New York: Resorts World Casino has an 18+ age restriction.
  • Oklahoma: Oklahoma has tribal casinos that are 18+ only.
  • Michigan: Tribal casinos are 18+, and commercial casinos are 21+.
  • Idaho: Minimum gambling age is 18, but some casinos only accept 21+ year olds.
  • Georgia: No land-based casinos, but you can take a cruise when you’re 18+.
  • Florida: You can play poker and bingo at 18+, but casino gaming is 21+ only.
  • California: Some tribal casinos + card rooms have a minimum age of 18+.

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Triple Edge Casino Sweeptastic Casino

The Legal Gambling Age for Sports Betting

Sports betting isn’t nearly as popular as casino gambling, and it’s still illegal or not offered in 24 US states. As online betting continues to get even more popular post-pandemic, we expect sports betting options to skyrocket in availability. Most states have a 21+ limit on sports betting.

At the time of writing, the only exception to this rule is Rhode Island. Please note that horse racing and daily fantasy sports (DFS) don’t fall under the umbrella of traditional sports bets. Many states place an 18+ age restriction on horse racing wagers and fantasy sports betting.

Legal Casino Age Throughout the USA

Casino gambling is, without a doubt, the most popular form of gambling in the USA. Outside of places like Atlantic City and Las Vegas, there are multiple casinos in 44 out of 50 states. Even in Georgia, which doesn’t have any land-based casinos, you can hop on a cruise to play games.

The US government has agreements in place with tribal reservations, which operate by their own set of rules. Certain tribes also run casinos in major metropolitan areas! They’re permitted to accept players who are 18+ years old, even if the state usually implements a 21+ restriction.

Legal Gambling Age for Bingo

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Pulsz Bingo Sweeps Casino – Bingo Games

The majority of states allow bingo players to be 18+ years or older, and three states allow them to be as young as 16. If you’re a high school junior in Maine, Ohio, or Oklahoma, you can legally gamble on bingo. Only four states impose a 21+ age restriction for bingo gambling IRL or online.

Alaska is the only state with a minimum age requirement of 19+ for real money bingo players!

Legal Gambling Age for Poker

A healthy mixture of states offer land-based poker halls, usually run by tribal casinos. In those states, you can play poker for real money at the age of 18. However, online poker is generally restricted to 21+ year olds. Just don’t try to waltz into Atlantic City or Vegas as an 18-year-old.

Legal Age for Online Gambling

Federally speaking, online casinos in the United States restrict players to being 21+ years of age or older. While some states have the liberty of drawing up their own age restrictions, the federally legal gambling age is 21. The only exceptions to this rule are sweepstakes casinos!

What Are Sweepstakes Casinos & Are They Legal in the USA?

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High5 Casino Virtual Currencies Info

Sweepstakes casinos, otherwise known as social casinos, take advantage of their legal status to offer casino-style games without putting any real money on the line. They’re legal in 46 of the 50 US states – Washington, Idaho, Nevada and Michigan are the only four states where social casinos aren’t permitted.

Sweepstakes casino sites use virtual currencies (such as Gold Coins and Sweeps Coins) with the goal of playing for fun, or for winning “prizes.” Gold Coins, which you can buy with cash, are used to play casino games just for entertainment. When you win Sweeps Coins while playing casino games, you can exchange them for prizes.

They’re not quite like traditional online casinos, but sweepstakes casinos scratch the itch for players who enjoy a great deal of slots and classic table games. You can also play for free!

If you want our advice, we’ve done the research to review three popular sweepstakes casinos.

WOW Vegas

Updated: Apr 09, 2024

wow vegas sweepstakes casino home ui

WOW Vegas claims to be the best free-play social casino, and we’re inclined to take them at their word. They’ve taken over the industry with 700+ realistic slots, and thousands of players keep coming back for more. They also release Vegas-style casino games on a weekly basis.

You can always play for free, and there’s no purchase necessary to get started. Upon making a new account, you’ll receive 8,500 free WOW Coins and 4.5 free SC (used to redeem prizes). Their premier no-deposit bonus is administered over your first three days as a registered player.

While they don’t have any table games or a dedicated mobile app, WOW Vegas has optimized their website for mobile-first usage. There’s no external software download required to enjoy 700+ immersive slots and progressive jackpots from the palm of your hand.

Cash prize redemptions start from 100 SC, and WOW Vegas promises 24/7 customer support. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to get in touch using their email contact form. Once you’ve opened a support ticket, it may take up to 24 hours before you get a response.

This sweepstakes casino is available in 46 out of 50 US states. Unfortunately, they haven’t expanded their selection to Michigan, Idaho, Nevada, or Washington. With powerful player promotions seven days a week and epic games to match, it’s no wonder they’re so popular!

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Quick facts

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T&C Apply | 18+ Only (or as otherwise stated in your jurisdiction)

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T&C Apply | 18+ Only (or as otherwise stated in your jurisdiction)

High 5 Casino

Updated: Feb 28, 2024

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We’d like to give High 5 Casino’s development team a high five – this social casino checks all the boxes with 800+ smash-hit slots, an excellent sign-up bonus, exclusive offers for members, and widespread availability. You can play for sweeps (real prizes) in 46 out of 50 US states.

Sweeps play isn’t available in Idaho, Nevada, Michigan, or Washington. However, you can play free games no matter where you are. If you’re just here to focus on the fun, High 5 Casino is an excellent choice! Use Game Coins to gain notoriety on their leaderboards and emerge on top.

When you sign up and create a new account today, you’ll get 250 free Game Coins and 5 free Sweeps Coins to match. They’re also giving away 600 Diamonds, which can be exchanged for boosts and free spins. Boosts and free spins give you more chances to win Sweeps Coins!

You’ll also earn more Diamonds when you log in every 4 hours, and you’ll receive Diamonds at random when you play Sweeps Coins. Finally, you can win diamonds by working your way up their leaderboards. High 5 makes it easy for players to have a great time without spending $$.

With 30+ million players and counting, it’s clear they live up to their promise of being a realistic and immersive sweepstakes casino. They also have classic table games, which gives them a major edge over social casinos like WOW Vegas and Vegas Gems.

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Quick facts

  • No

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T&C Apply | 18+ Only (or as otherwise stated in your jurisdiction)

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High 5 Casino

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  • Accessible in 47 States
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T&C Apply | 18+ Only (or as otherwise stated in your jurisdiction)

Vegas Gems Casino

Updated: Apr 10, 2024

vegas gems casino homepage

Vegas Gems Casino separates their brand from the competition with a sleek, mobile-friendly interface in addition to hundreds of exclusive casino games. Unlike WOW Vegas or High 5, Vegas Gems goes the extra mile with crash gambling options and light-hearted specialties.

Crash, Mines, Coinflip, Wheel, and Towers promise a change of pace from endless slots and jackpot machines. While they don’t have any classic table games like High 5 Casino, Vegas Gems appeals to casual sweepstakes players with an exceptionally entertaining experience.

You can use Gems to play casino games, and you’ll redeem real prizes using Shards. Notably, you’ll get free Shards and Gems every day with no purchase required! Log in and open daily treasure chests to claim your bonus. Firstly, you’ll win a maximum of 1,000 Gems on sign-up!

As you continue building a daily log-in streak, your treasure chests will include more enticing rewards. You can also purchase Gems using a credit card, cryptocurrency, or even gift cards.

Vegas Gems operates in all but three states. Unfortunately, players in Idaho, Nevada, and Washington are out of luck. They went live in October 2023, so we expect them to continue expanding their availability!

While Vegas Gems is up against some serious competition, they’ve established their niche.

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Quick facts

  • No

  • No

T&C Apply | 18+ Only (or as otherwise stated in your jurisdiction)

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Vegas Gems Casino

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T&C Apply | 18+ Only (or as otherwise stated in your jurisdiction)

What Happens If You’re Caught Gambling While Underage?

The legal gambling age for casino games is never lower than 18. If you’re caught gambling as a minor, the consequences can be relatively severe. People convicted of underage gambling may receive a penalty up to $1,000 or have their driver’s license suspended for a max of six months.

In some states, you might face prison time or have a permanent blot on your criminal record. It is a misdemeanor to gamble while underage in all US states, which means you could receive up to 364 days in jail. Parents can also be found guilty if they knowingly let their child gamble.

Will Sin City Ever Lower The Minimum Casino Age to 18?

If you’re old enough to serve in the military, you’re old enough to gamble in Las Vegas – at least, that’s what Assemblyman Ken Gray argued when he proposed a bill aiming to lower Nevada’s legal gambling age to 18. While he introduced the bill in 2017, it was shot down fairly quickly.

Considering the financial status of most 18 year olds and the issue of trying to buy a drink while you’re technically underage, Nevada lawmakers argued that lowering the legal gambling age for casino betting is more trouble than it’s worth.

Casinos also make a ton of money from alcohol sales, which explains their hesitancy to accept 18+ year old players who can freely gamble (but are unable to legally drink alcohol).

welcome las vegas nevada sign

Welcome Las Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada Sign

How Old Do You Have to Be to Gamble Online?

Unless you’re playing with the best sweepstakes casinos, you must be 21+ years old to gamble with casinos online. Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Rhode Island offer legal and regulated casino gaming from the comfort of home.

While online casino gaming has been legalized in Rhode Island, they’re expected to begin their roll-out in March 2024. Gov. Dan McKee signed this new stipulation into law on June 20, 2023.

Should You Gamble With Traditional or Sweepstakes Casinos?

If you’re not keen on placing bets with traditional casinos (or you live in a state where casinos are difficult to find), sweepstakes casinos are a great alternative! WOW Vegas, Vegas Gems, and High 5 offer a leading selection of slots and table games that are just like the real thing.

Social casinos require you to use in-game currency, and you’re usually given some to start off with for free. That said, it’s easy to purchase in-game currency using a debit card or e-wallet.

Even if you’re not looking to spend any money, sweepstakes casinos are all about having fun!

Reference:

Nevada Assembly Bill 86 Legiscan. Available at: https://legiscan.com/NV/text/AB86/2017 (Accessed: 20 December 2023).

FAQ

The legal gambling age in the USA varies by state and depends on the type of betting. Factors influencing the age include your location and the specific form of gambling, such as casino gaming, sports betting, poker, bingo, racing, and lottery games. Notably, some states have more lenient regulations than others.

Several states permit gambling for individuals aged 18 and older, especially at tribal casinos. Examples include Wyoming, Washington, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Oklahoma, Michigan, Idaho, Georgia, and Florida. However, this doesn’t grant the privilege of consuming alcohol at these establishments for those under 21.

Sweepstakes casinos, also known as social casinos, exploit a legal loophole to offer casino-style games without real money involvement. They are legal in 48 states, excluding Hawaii and Utah. These casinos use virtual currencies like Gold Coins and Sweeps Coins, allowing players to win prizes without traditional monetary transactions. They provide an alternative for those seeking entertainment without spending money and are legal across most states.

Elina Blagoeva is a member of the Mr. Sweepstakes editorial team. She studied Multimedia and Creative Technologies at the KdG University of Applied Science and Arts in Antwerpen, Belgium.

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